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While they are happening, transitions in life can be messy. Think of leaving a relationship, losing your livelihood, confronting a debilitating disease or moving to a new community. It is mud season in New Hampshire, the obstreperous passage from winter to spring and a timely metaphor for the muddle of change.

Locals know well the indicators of this season: days warm enough to melt the snow followed by nights of congealing cold; deep ruts in dirt roads that suck the traction from your tires; cracked macadam heaved up by melting and refreezing water beneath; tell-tale orange signs prohibiting heavy loads on vulnerable streets.

As with all liminal times, what is giving way has not completely yielded and what is coming has not yet fully arrived. In our lives it usually takes longer for our emotions to catch up with the physical changes thrust upon us.

How do we cope with this muddy transition? We pay attention, looking for the shoots of crocuses as the snow recedes, noting how the daylight lingers and the air fills with promise. We practice prudence, avoiding the pudding filled roads that can mire us. We prepare, planting indoors the seeds for our gardens to come.

Lastly, we seek and mine the treasure that can be found only at the heart of this unruly period. The warm days and cold nights trigger the launch of dormant sap from roots to leaf buds high above. Long hours tapping trees and collecting and boiling the sap yield maple syrup, the liquid gold that is the boon of this stretch of disruptions.

Next time you find yourself in the middle of a transition may the mud season metaphor provide some sweet reminders that summer is coming.